Landscape Logic: How to be holiday green
Vail, CO Colorado
In the songs of the season, we’re “dreaming of a white Christmas” or fretting over a “blue, blue Christmas without you.”
Yet green is a color that also can add to the ambiance of the holidays by making a few sustainable decisions about our holiday decor. Here are five no-brainers to keep the holidays “green” around your home:
• Use a real Christmas tree. Why? An artificial tree must be used at least 20 years to have a smaller carbon footprint than a grown tree. On the other hand, an acre of Christmas trees growing in a tree farm creates enough oxygen to support 18 people!
• Buy a tree that’s fresh, and keep it that way. Pinch a needle, and if it has a rich fragrance, that indicates a fresh tree. You can also pull off a needle and bend it. If it snaps like a carrot, that’s another good sign of freshness.
At home, keep the tree fresh by cutting an inch off the base of the trunk before placing it in the stand. That newly cut surface allows the tree to soak up water and stay fresh. Water the tree daily, as that will help keep the tree from drying out and becoming a fire hazard.
• Use what you have for festive porch containers and other decor. Save the lowest branches that are cut off the tree when you place it in the stand. Use them in porch containers, and search the yard for other elements to add.
Look for pinecones and dried plant material, such as hydrangea, seed pods, echinacea or yarrow. Add height with branches of red-twig dogwood or cuttings from tall grasses and color interest with cascades of berries such as orange pyracantha, red cotoneaster or blue or green juniper. It’s amazing what we can find in our yards when we look!
• Use LED lights both indoors and out. Because LED bulbs don’t heat up to create a fire hazard, they are safer to use on indoor trees. Indoors or out, they are more energy efficient and require fewer outlets. Outdoors, where outlets are at a premium, you can connect countless strings of LEDs end to end, plug the whole line of lights into one extension cord and into one outlet – all without overloading the circuit. Plus by using 80 percent less energy, LEDs cut your utility costs.
• Keep your tree “green” after the holidays by recycling it. Many municipalities have drop-off sites for Christmas trees, where they are recycled into mulch for gardens, hiking trails and animal stalls. Check your city’s website for details.
Best wishes for a truly green holiday season!
Becky Garber is member of the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado, of which Neils Lunceford, a landscaping company, is a member. You may contact them at 970-409-8945.